A great article by cycling journalist Karen Forman in the local Monaro newspaper, showcasing who we are and what Australian Alpine Cycling retreats offer in the Snowy region .
Jindy cycling club supports cycling retreat first for region
Like her fellow Jindabyne Cycling Club members, Sheryl Rotondo loves riding in the Snowy Mountains. In fact, she loves the region so much that she packed up her life in Sydney and moved here – not for the snow like most new arrivals, but for the cycling.
Since becoming a local almost two years ago, she has further decided that she loves riding her bike on Snowy Monaro roads so much, that she wants to share it with her riding friends back home – and all around the world.
New Zealand born/Sydney raised Sheryl, who is half Italian courtesy of her father and has spent a lot of time riding her beloved bike through the alps in France and Italy, has launched a business she believes is the first of its kind in the region.
From October, Australian Alpine Cycling Retreats is set to offer cyclists of all levels fully guided and supported three to four day “retreats’’ based out of her own property in Jindabyne. And it has the full support of her clubmates.
President Gary Pearson, speaking on behalf of the club, said he wished Sheryl the best in her endeavor.
“We all know if Sheryl puts in as much effort as she does in the JCC secretary role she will be hugely successful,’’ he said. “Sheryl would be a great ambassador for our area with visiting cyclists.’’
“What I aimed for was for local people working for a local company showing visitors the local area on road bikes, bringing in dollars for local supermarket, shops, restaurants, petrol stations and more,’’ she said.
“While a lot of cycling clubs bring their riders to the region on training camps and many charity rides end up here, there has not been a locally owned business offering individual riders a retreat where all they have to do is come with their bike, and receive accommodation, food, guided rides and more.’’
Sheryl says most visiting riders tend to spend three days doing the usual rides: Jindabyne to Charlottes Pass return; Tom Groggin return and the Dalgety/Berridale look (incorporating the famed Col de Beloka climb).
“Reality is, there is so much more and that is what I want to show visiting riders,’’ she said. “For example, the ride the Jindabyne Cycling Club does each year, Around the Block, which goes from Jindabyne to Adaminaby, Khancoben and back to Jindabyne over three days, in reverse on the alternative years, is a great one for us to show off to our visitors.’’
Sheryl, an accredited cycling coach and personal trainer, has two expert ride leaders working with her. Kent Carpenter is a local elite ski instructor and top racing cyclist and bike mechanic, while Sarah Anne Evans is a qualified Cycling Australia and Triathlon Australia coach who divides her time between her properties in Jindabyne and Sydney.
Kent has recently returned to the region after living in Noosa, while Sarah Anne is a member of the Veloroos endurance cycling team and will shortly ride the course of the Tour de France with an international women’s team, starting the day before the iconic men’s race begins in July.
Both are also members of the Jindabyne Cycling Club which has been supportive of her initiative. Many of her club mates have enjoyed riding with Sheryl on her course reccies, taking in hundreds of kilometres at a time.
Sheryl first visited the Snowy Mountains a decade ago, on a training camp with her then cycling club, Randwick Botany CC. “I had never ridden mountains and it was epic,’’ she says. “We did the usual classics – Charlottes, Tom Groggin and Dalgety – and I was hooked and came back every year after that.
“Then I was coming at Easter, and then for training for the Three Peaks Challenge (one day/235km/4000 metres climbing) and then I introduced my friend Sarah Anne Evans and her husband Warren to the area, having met through a mutual personal training friend.
“Now she has a house in Jindabyne and rides with the local club as well.’’
“The idea to start a cycle retreat business was to combine my knowledge in the health and fitness industry with cycling and my love for endurance cycling and adventure,’’ she says. “It felt important to create a business using the local area, locally, and help to grow the road cycling tourism side of things for the region. It is not a training camp, but a touring company
“Mountain biking is growing and there is a lot of room for road cycling to grow too as the region really is a cycling mecca. L’Etape Australia brings gran fondo tourism to town and I think a lot of people are keen to return after experiencing that. I would love to get Italians, French, Spanish and Germans to visit to cycling in our mountains, too.’’
The first tour will be held on October 24 and two female-only tours are scheduled up until the touring season ends in April. More info at https://www.australianalpinecyclingretreats.com.au/